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Norwegian Army prepares for the reality of virtual reality


The Norwegian army testing Oculus Rift. (Eirik Helland Urke/tu.no)

Oculus Rift virtual-reality goggles are mostly associated with video games. But the Norwegian Army has found a practical use for them: It is testing a prototype of Oculus that can see out of armored cars.

The head-mounted display works with specially developed cameras that give a 360-degree view from the driver’s seat, even if the driver is sitting with the vehicle’s hatch closed. The system reportedly will allow drivers to parallel park within a centimeter’s precision.

(via Slate)

Norwegian TV station TU reports:

What makes the Oculus Rift glasses special is that the view seamlessly follows your head movements. When the driver turns his head to the left, he looks straight out through the left camera.

Slate reports the system could eventually put important information such as vehicle diagnostics or terrain maps within a driver’s field of view.

Right now, the Army is only testing protoypes. Major Ola Petter Odden at Combat Lab told TU that the system is a very promising:

I can foresee that the system will be technologically mature in maybe 2-3 years. Then we will need a qualification period for the equipment to … be ready for use in traffic. So maybe it will be ready in five years.

For those unfamiliar with Oculus Rift or Facebook’s acquisition:

[posttv url="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/business/technology/facebook-buying-into-virtual-reality/2014/03/26/91b630c0-b504-11e3-bab2-b9602293021d_video.html" ]

Nick Kirkpatrick is the foreign photo editor at the Washington Post. Follow him on Instagram or Twitter.

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